The Appalachians are the series of mountain ranges that cover the eastern part of North America. They are believed to have been formed 480 years ago during the Ordovician period. As such, the Appalachian Mountains are recognized as the oldest system of mountain ranges in North America. The ranges stretch across 14 American states namely Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, as well as North and South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia. The ranges cover about 110,000 square miles from Newfoundland in the North to Alabama in the South. The highest point on the Appalachian Mountain ranges is Mount Mitchell which is 2,037 meters above sea level.
The Regions Of The Appalachians
Appalachian ranges are apportioned into three areas - namely the central, northern, and southern regions. The northern region stretches from the Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada to New York’s Hudson River. The mountain ranges found in this region include the Green Mountains (Vermont), Chic-choc Mountains (Quebec), Longfellow Mountains (Maine), and Long Range Mountains (Newfoundland). The central region, on the other hand, covers the area from the Hudson River, through Virginia and West Virginia to New River. The ranges here include Taconic Mountains, Valley Ridges and the Great Appalachian Valley. Then the third region which is the southern region is the area from New River to Maine. Some of the mountain ranges in the region include Cumberland Plateau, prolongation of the Blue Ridge, and the Ridge and the Valley Appalachians.
The Mountain Ranges And The Habitat Of The Appalachians
Some of the famous mountain ranges of the Appalachians are the White Mountains, Blue Ridge, the Great Smoky Mountains, the Black Mountains, the Green Mountains, Mount Washington, and Mount Mitchell. Mount Washington is famous because it has the harshest weather amongst all the ranges. The mountain which is 1,916 meters high experiences 100 days of Hurricanes each year. Most of the Appalachian Mountain ranges are between 800 – 1,000 meters high. The Chic-choc and Notre Dame are 1,200 meters high while the White Mountains are 1,500 meters above sea level. The habitat of most of the ranges is temperate forests. However, other parts of the ranges are mixed deciduous and boreal forests. Tree species in the ranges include red spruce, mountain ash, black spruce, Easter hemlock, and Frasier fir.
Remarkable Features Of The Appalachians
There are three remarkable features of the Appalachians. The first one is the longitudinal chain of broad valleys such as the Great Appalachian Valley. The second feature is the lack of an axis of dominating altitudes. Thirdly, there’s no summit that reaches the region of perpetual snow. Besides these features, there is an Appalachian trail which cuts through the ranges. It is used by the public as a footpath for touring the mountain ranges. There are also rivers which pass through the ranges. Most of these rivers flow to the Gulf Mexico, Roanoke River, Potomac River, and Susquehanna River.
Besides, the great geography of the Appalachians, the ranges also have economic importance. This is due to the rich deposits of natural gas, zinc, coal, petroleum, and iron which they possess. Furthermore, tourism is also an economic activity that thrives in the Appalachians.